Malaysia

Pak Lah: Malays can succeed without ‘haram’ trade

By Zurairi AR
December 16, 2012

Abdullah appeared irked by Ibrahim’s claim that Islam precludes Malays from being economically competitive. — Reuters picAbdullah appeared irked by Ibrahim’s claim that Islam precludes Malays from being economically competitive. — Reuters picSUBANG JAYA, Dec 16 ― Former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today chided Datuk Ibrahim Ali for suggesting that Islamic limitations have impeded Malay success, insisting that religion does not factor into an individual’s drive to succeed.

The Umno veteran popularly known as Pak Lah, who was a strong advocate of moderation in Islam during his tenure as prime minister, appeared to take issue with the Perkasa president for using the religion to make his case for Bumiputera affirmative action.

Ibrahim once sat on Umno’s supreme council along with Pak Lah but was sacked in November 2003 and had his membership revoked indefinitely.

“What is this, how could he make even that an issue?” a visibly displeased Pak Lah told a press conference here.

“We don’t say that as an excuse to not get into business ... (Islam) doesn’t mean we can’t be entrepreneurs.

“There are successful Malay companies ... it all depends on their own ability and skills to manage their business without involving haram (forbidden) elements,” he added.

Yesterday, the head of the Malay rights group had claimed that millions of ringgit in trade was denied to the Malays since they cannot operate businesses considered “haram”, or are prohibited in Islam, while non-Muslim entrepreneurs had benefited a lot from them.

“Gambling, liquor, entertainment outlets ... how could Malays afford, be able to compete?” the outspoken Pasir Mas MP told Perkasa members at the group’s general assembly yesterday.

“We urge the government to continue affirmative action to ensure the security of our nation.”

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